Summary: Lenten Communion Meditation for March 4, 2007
(Slide 1) Introduction: A public reading of Luke 13:10-17 followed by a dramatic reading entitled ‘Christ on Trial: Witness: Woman Healed’ written by Elsa L. Clark, Peter Mead, Arden Mead and Mark Zimmermann. © 2007 Creative Communications for the Parish.
(Slide 2) This woman suffered from two burdens that Jesus lifted from her that day in the synagogue: the burden of her (Slide 3) physical affliction and the burden of second class status.
Now we may argue with the interpretation we have just heard in the dramatic reading but second class status is a reality and it does not just apply to women.
All of us often experience second class status. All of us, sometimes due to our values and our stand on those values have often been labeled, whether or not we are aware of it, second class. Our refusal to play ‘office politics’ has also labeled us second class because we refuse to play the games that others play in order to get ahead.
But, we also relegate others to second class status because we disagree with their views or their choices or, and we have to be honest here, we are afraid of them. I sense fear in this situation. I sense it in the Pharisees’ response to Jesus’ healing the woman. Somebody was breaking the rules!
But Jesus did not care about that! He did not care that He was breaking the rule that a physician could not practice his profession on the Sabbath and therefore heal or save a life.
(Slide 4) What better day is there than the Sabbath for healing to occur?
Last Sunday morning as we had a brief worship time at home, a question was raised about what Lent means. In one of my sources that I shared from it says, ‘the season of Lent is like a roller coaster ride with emotions that are down and up again and again as the story of our salvation makes plain our sinful ways and the cost of redemption.’
We see our sinful ways in this story. We see them in the Pharisees’ rigidity that made faith a seemingly impossible task for the people. We see them in the lack of care for this woman who was doubled over by pain. We see them in the women because we too have been doubled over, not necessarily physically, but spiritually in our hearts and souls because of sin.
Luke, who was a physician, notes that the affliction was due to an ‘evil spirit’ according to my translation. Another translation says ‘with a spirit that had crippled her.’
What was that spiritual cause? Maybe it was guilt. Unresolved guilt was sometimes expresses itself in physical pain and disability. Or maybe it was depression which can be a very debilitating illness both physically and emotionally. We really don’t know the cause. But we know this… the unnamed woman was in pain… physical, emotional, and spiritual pain.
But even more important is this… (Slide 5) Jesus saw her! This is what matters this morning… her story is our story.
We see ourselves in her! We too have been doubled over in our spirits. We have suffered inner pain, rejection, second class status, heartache and disappointment.
The text notes that she had suffered for 18 years. We do not know if she had suffered since childhood or only in adulthood… we simply know that she suffered!